11.21.05

Panic In Detroit : Wings’ Fischer Hospitalized

Posted in Hockey at 11:36 pm by

Writes MMV Tan,

Tough break for a team that’s already lost their best young defenseman to a knee injury and their best old defensemen to a bad groin.

Gammons : Red Sox In “Tentative” Deal For Beckett & Lowell

Posted in Baseball at 7:10 pm by

And if Mike Lowell doesn’t remember how to hit….they can demote him to Lowell!

From ESPN.com :

The Red Sox and Marlins have come to a tentative agreement on a trade that would send Josh Beckett (above) and Mike Lowell to Florida for shortstop Hanley Ramirez, top pitching prospect Anibal Sanchez and another minor leaguer.

No announcement is expected Monday and the deal is contingent on the finalization of paperwork and all players passing physicals, sources outside the Red Sox organization have told ESPN’s Peter Gammons.

Where’s Bowie Kuhn to break this kind of thing up?

Sniper Takes Aim At Babcock

Posted in Basketball at 4:55 pm by

Despite Toronto’s win over Miami yesterday, Raptors GM Rob Babcock is living on borrowed time writes Hoopworld’s Darren “The Sniper” Andrade (note to self : time to acquire a nickname besides “The Malingerer”).

The Toronto Raptors may not dole out mega-bucks but they have hung around the top third of the league in spending over the past few years, the same amount of time they have been out of the playoffs. A team predicted by most to get worse before they get better. Say all you want about general manager Rob Babcock inheriting a mess of a roster and salary cap situation – the general consensus upstairs is that he hasn’t done, or isn’t doing, enough to make things better. Charlie Villanueva, Joey Graham and Jose Calderon were solid draft picks but they won’t soon undo the damage done by drafting center Rafael Araujo and bumbling the Vince Carter trade in his first season. Should Babcock have the luxury of seeing the third year of his plan through? Probably, but it isn’t likely with a strong word that already has former Orlando Magic GM John Gabriel on the radar as a replacement for the position. Denver Nuggets GM Kiki Vandeweghe has also been mentioned.

Crazy Like A Fox

Posted in Gridiron at 4:21 pm by

If you’re wondering why Stephen Davis managed only 4 carries in Carolina’s 13-3 loss to Chicago yesterday — the Panthers first loss in nearly 2 months and the Bears’ biggest win in, I don’t know, a short lifetime? — losing coach John Fox has an explanation that should put your mind at ease.

Most of that was decided before we went into the game as far as packages and groups that we were going to use. That’s just the way it fell yesterday, just like there have been packages where we highlighted Stephen more in games prior to this. Some of it is based on personnel groups.

Does anyone have nearly as creative an excuse for how Washington — in a game they simply had to win yesterday — couldn’t fashion one TD against the porous Oakland defense?

Another Drunken Bed-Wetting Tragedy

Posted in Blogged Down, Will Leitch Sucks at 4:08 pm by

From Reuters.

A German man drank too much, wet his bed and set fire to his apartment while trying to dry his bedding, police in the western town of Muelheim said on Monday.

œHe was too drunk to go to the toilet, said a police spokesman. œThe next morning he put a switched-on hair dryer on the bed to dry it and left the apartment. When the 60-year-old returned, his home and belongings were in flames.

Firemen eventually put out the blaze.

Didn’t know that Will Leitch had family in Muellheim? Me neither. Though it was very impressive to learn today that Will’s finally found the time to check out Flea’s basketball blog, much as Leitch’s immodesty in touting his own Sunday Times appearance was more notable for what wasn’t revealed. ie. that the author of said Bill Simmons profile is the frequent recipient of links from Leitch for his own book-touting blog, Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer. Little things like full disclosure aren’t that big of a deal at Gawker Media or the New York Times, but as long as both parties are making each other happy, that’s all that really matters.

WWE Announces New Drug Policy…

Posted in Professional Wrestling at 3:35 pm by

…replacing the old policy, which was “do ‘em or watch someone else’s career take off”. Kind of like the other sports’ drug policies, really. (thanks to Jon Solomon for the link)

Suns PG Join Chorus Condemning Manu’s Floppy Ways

Posted in Basketball at 1:39 pm by

Phoenix’s Leandro Barbosa (above) is expected to miss 1-3 weeks after suffering a Grade 2 sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Predictably, he holds the Spurs’ Manu Ginobli responsible. From the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro.

Spurs guard Manu Ginobili fell backward into the side of Barbosa’s knee, and after watching a replay, Barbosa believes the injury could have been avoided.

“Ginobili always likes to flop,” Barbosa said. “Nobody even touched him.”

Ginobili was apparently trying to get position over Raja Bell when he stumbled backward.

“He just flopped,” Barbosa said. “That’s why I feel sad to hurt myself like that. I wish I could have hurt myself in another way.”

Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said: “(Ginobili) got tangled up a little bit with Raja Bell and just to make his point, he was falling down. It was an accident.”

George Karl’s Komplaints about Manu from last June.

Bill Bavasi Dropped A Bomb On Me

Posted in Baseball at 1:16 pm by

Mariners GM Bill Bavasi, as quoted in the same Bob Finnegan piece (below) (thanks to Repoz at Baseball Think Factory for the head’s up)

“If he’s here, we wouldn’t regard it any different than the situation with Latin guys. He’d have to pick up some English and even some Spanish. But we’re talking about enough to get the next hitter out, not to split the atom.”

I dunno, helping Ryan Franklin out seems much tougher than spliting the atom.

Finnigan : Mariners To Sign Jojima

Posted in Baseball at 12:59 pm by

From the Seattle Times’ Bob Finnegan.

Scoring the first big-name free-agent signing of the offseason, the Mariners will announce the signing of catcher Kenji Johjima (above), possibly as soon as today.

Sources say that Johjima has agreed to terms with Seattle. His name is much bigger in Japan, where he has averaged .305 with 30 homers the past five years and won seven straight Gold Gloves.

The Mariners increased their offer late last week from two years plus a club option for a third year to more than $5 million a year for three years, a deal that also includes incentives.

Also, Johjima and his family were said to take a liking to the Northwest in their visit last weekend.

Indeed, between the terrific weather and the fact that Candlebox broke up a long time ago, what’s not to like? Keep in mind that Jojima blew off a scheduled visit with the Mets last week.

Phil Mushnick – Soup Nazi

Posted in Food, Sports TV at 11:54 am by

Salty stuff from Phil Mushnick in Monday’s NY Post.

Eagles-Giants included a commercial in which Donovan McNabb’s mother, “Team Mom” Wilma McNabb, is seen confiscating a player’s hero sandwich, throwing it into the trash and pitching Campbell’s Chunky Soups as a healthy alternative.

Hmmm. A single serving ” one cup ” of Campbell’s Chunky Beef contains 950 mgs of sodium, 40 percent of the daily recommended intake of salt. Campbell’s Chunky Chicken Noodle has 1170 mgs per. It’s recommended by nine out of 10 funeral directors.

Hey, not all of us are sports tv columnists making the big money, Phil. Not everyone can afford your fancy NewsCorp-approved low sodium soups, and as such, have to subsist on two and a half cups of Campbell’s Chunky Beef just to maintain the recommended amount.

Not me, personally, mind you. I wouldn’t eat that stuff on a bet. (Or unless it was free). But many of the Post’s readers are part of America’s Great Disenfranchised, and I’m sure it is very difficult to find the money for expensive sneakers, violent videogames, WWE tickets, public speaking lessons from Stephen A. Smith, etc, and still have the leftover loot for a balanced diet.

Humphries Shoots First, Sloan Asks Questions Later

Posted in Basketball at 11:40 am by

From the Salt Lake Tribune’s Phil Miller.

The Jazz’s second-year forward Kris Humphries checked into the game at the start of the second quarter Saturday against Memphis. So he was obviously shocked when Robert Whaley subbed in for him just 2 1/2 minutes later.

As Humphries approached the bench, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan stopped him with a blunt message. “I can’t put you out there,” Sloan said as Humphries passed by, “if you’re not going to compete.”

The problem, the coach said afterward, was Humphries’ passivity under the Grizzlies’ basket. Memphis collected four offensive rebounds in the 150 seconds Humphries played, including one on a missed free throw.

The last Memphis possession was too much for Sloan to take.

“The ball went on the rim and he didn’t go after it,” Sloan said. So back to the bench Humphries went.

“I don’t want a confrontation every time” Humphries does something wrong, the coach said. “But how are you going to make a living in this league? Shoot every time you touch it? I say you can make a living in this league if you defend, rebound, run the floor, do some of those things.”

Humphries played just three more minutes in the game, the Jazz’s fifth straight loss, and ironically did not attempt a shot.

Clearly, what Humphries needs is some serious one-on-one tutoring from Jazz owner Larry Miller (no relation).

Lo Duca Headed To Shea?

Posted in Baseball at 6:40 am by

As speculation surrounding the Marlins’ winter clearance sale (one very similar to the dump-fest that took place following their ’97 championship) continues, the NY Daily News’ Adam Rubin and Bill Madden are doubtful the Mets will acquire 1B Carlos Delgado.

Delgado’s continued distaste for the Mets should make executives in Flushing wary. He accused the Mets last spring of recruiting him based on shared Hispanic heritage. The recruiting got nasty. When GM Omar Minaya introduced special assistant Tony Bernazard during a face-to-face session at the winter meetings last December, Delgado blurted out: “The highest-paid translator on the planet.” Delgado and Bernazard share Puerto Rican heritage.

Delgado did not get no-trade protection, but his contract severely limits Florida’s options. Delgado’s original four-year, $52 million deal was heavily back-loaded, with Florida paying him only $4 million last season. Delgado would receive a salary adjustment to account for state income tax in New York that does not exist in Florida, meaning the Mets would be paying Delgado for three years roughly what they originally offered him for four.

“I don’t think anyone will end up happy,” one source said about a Delgado-Mets union.

In addition to Delgado, Beckett and Lowell, the Marlins also are looking to shed the salaries of Castillo at second base and Paul Lo Duca behind the plate.

With the Mets in the market for both a catcher and a second baseman, it’s relatively certain Minaya has also made inquiries about both of those two.

The Mets have three prime chips in pitchers Aaron Heilman and Jae Seo and second baseman Anderson Hernandez (above).

On XM this morning, the intensely plugged-in Buck Martinez seemed rather certain that if the Marlins complete the Beckett/Lowell for Hank Blalock trade, Texas’ current third-baseman is unlikely to make it to spring training without being traded again.

Link Wray, American Guitar Pioneer, Dead At 76

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 12:54 am by

From the Globe & Mail / AP :

Guitar player Link Wray, who invented the power chord, the major modus operandi of modern rock guitarists, has died. He was 76.

The date of Wray’s death was not known. He lived in Copenhagen.

Denmark’s Politiken newspaper said his funeral had already taken place in Copenhagen’s Christian Church. No dates were given.

Though I’m loathe to make a statement as bold as “Link Wray invented distortion”, the North Carolinan certainly had as much to do with creating the rock guitar blueprint and expanding the instrument’s sonic potential as any player. There’s a big chunk of your record collection that either wouldn’t exist or would’ve turned out quite differently were it not for Link Wray.

Beckett-To-Rangers Deal Closer To Fruition

Posted in Baseball at 12:32 am by

From the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant.

While the Rangers, according to a club source, inched forward Sunday and agreed to include one of their top two pitching prospects along with third baseman Hank Blalock in a deal for Beckett and Mike Lowell, the Marlins were also considering an offer from Boston.

A major league source said the Marlins were weighing the two offers. The Rangers, according to a club source, hope to have the situation resolved by today. Otherwise, they will turn their attention back to free agency.

“It doesn’t benefit anyone for me to comment on trade speculation,” said Rangers GM Jon Daniels.

On Saturday, Rangers sources said if the team included left-hander John Danks, the club’s top pick in 2003, a deal could be struck by the end of the weekend. The Rangers were not willing to go that far on Saturday, but had reconsidered Sunday. The Rangers are now willing to give Florida its choice of Danks or 2004 No. 1 pick Thomas Diamond.

The Red Sox are the lone remaining obstacle. Boston is reportedly offering shortstop prospect Hanley Ramirez (above) and one of its own pitching prospects, either right-hander Anibal Sanchez or left-hander Jon Lester.

Already Busted, NHLPA Fractured Further

Posted in Hockey at 12:24 am by

These aren’t the golden days for the unions representing North America’s professional athletes. The NFLPA has long suffered under the stewardship of Gene Upshaw, Billy Hunter raised nary a peep when David Stern imposed a dress code, and we’ve just witnessed a historic capitulation on the part of Donald Fehr and Gene Orza in the face of steroid-hysteria. But all of the above pale in comparison to the heavy shit going down with the NHL Players Association — getting their ass kicked over the lockout was apparently just the tip of the iceberg, as Eric at Off-Wing Opinion spells out for you.

Further details from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.

A complaint by the NHL Players’ Association is expected to be heard today by the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C., according to Wild goalie Dwayne Roloson.

The complaint, which Roloson says is signed by 27 players, including five from the Wild, alleges that the association violated its own constitution by the manner it fired former union boss Bob Goodenow and hired successor Ted Saskin.

The complaint, which was filed in late September and signed by the Wild’s Roloson, Brian Rolston, Willie Mitchell, Andrei Zyuzin and Andrei Nazarov — among other notable NHLers including Chris Chelios, Brian Leetch and Eric Lindros — also claims the union has improperly spent dues (Saskin is traveling from team to team campaigning for the job) and that the union leadership is denying requests for information by its members.

Players are alleging the NHLPA’s constitution was not followed when Saskin was unilaterally hired the same day Goodenow was fired without conducting a thorough outside search.

Also, players are alleging union members weren’t consulted when NHLPA President Trevor Linden structured Saskin’s $2.1 million annual salary.

“There was a vote after the fact, but was there a secret ballot?” Roloson said. “By no means. Now they’re trying to do a secret ballot, but that is far from secret, too. And then you’ve got Ted going around lobbying [to keep his job] to every other team in the league.

More than 60 dissidents have hired well-known New York labor lawyer Bob Lanza to represent them at today’s hearing. According to several players, the NHLPA has denied these dissenters access to the message boards on the NHLPA’s private website.

In response, former Gophers and North Stars winger Trent Klatt, who retired in September after 14 NHL seasons, is updating NHLPA members on his own site, www.trentklatt.com: “The Homepage of the Quest for NHLPA Democracy.”

On the site, Klatt announced the Saturday resignation of union official Steve Larmer, the former Blackhawks and Rangers forward, by posting a scathing letter Larmer sent to Saskin.

Larmer, claiming the appointment of Saskin was indeed improper according to the constitution and bylaws, wrote, “I am resigning because this organization has taken a giant step backwards, back to the [controversial] days of [Alan] Eagleson where a select few made decisions for the group.”

11.20.05

North America’s 6th Or 7th Most Popular Sport Continues To Thrill

Posted in Hockey at 8:38 pm by

Canucks 3, Mighty Ducks 2

Writes Tom Benjamin, It was a caricature, a farce, a parody, a sham, a pretense, a laughingstock, a spoof, a travesty, an abortion, a bomb, a debacle, a fiasco, a disaster, an embarrassment, a flop, a mess, and a washout. It was a not very funny joke. It was a game of mockery hockery at its very worst.

The Canucks won.

Mike Ricci (shown above, during his San Jose tenure) returned to the Shark Tank last night for the time since signing a free agent deal with Phoenix. The SF Chronicle’s Ross McKeon asked the question that’s on the lips of every Bay Area hockey fan —- all 12 of them — what’s up with Ricci’s new haircut?

When told the hosts plan to show their appreciation of the ex-Shark with a pregame video presentation tonight, Ricci reacted with humility.

“I’m not sure I’m a good enough player to deserve that.”

Sharks fans will see a different Ricci, and not only because of the unfamiliar No. 40 he wears in honor of deceased NFL Arizona Cardinal star Pat Tillman, killed during military service in Afghanistan in 2004. Gone is the mop-like hair that was Ricci’s trademark for most of his last 14 NHL seasons.

Ricci got it cut after he agreed to play a role in a movie about the life and career of Maurice Richard. Ricci played the part of Elmer Lach, a longtime linemate of Richard’s in Montreal.

He also underwent surgery to repair a broken nose sustained early in the season. Ricci guesses he’s broken his nose four or five times in his career, but this one required a procedure because as he put it, “Let’s just say it was blocking the vision of my left eye.”

Midway through the 3rd period, the Rangers are leading the Bruins, 2-1 via goals from Jaromir Jagr and Peter Prucha. Don Koharski (abvoe) is one of the four referees in this one, and I’m sure the alleged doughnut devouring official can appreciate that nearly 18 years after Jim Shoenfeld’s infamous epithet, the former is still officiating in the big leagues while his nemesis is beating the bushes.

Of course, Shoenfeld did play alongside Tim Horton, so he was very qualified to speak of doughnuts.

Closer to Chez CSTB, the CHL’s Austin Ice Bats won consecutive games for the first time this season with Friday’s 6-2 win over Rio Valley and last night’s 4-1 defeat of Corpus Christi. Despite improving to 5-8-0, the Ice Bats willingly defiled the sanctity of the Travis County Exposition Center by allowing a rock band so lousy to perform after the game, I’ll not reveal their name for fear the Hold Steady will take credit.

Mets Eye 2B Castillo, Giants Courting Morris

Posted in Baseball at 6:22 pm by

The Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi — sure to strain his typing hands what with all of the intense salary dumping taking place in Miami, reports the Mets and Marlins have had “extensive” talks concerning 2B Luis Castillo over the past two weeks.

Castillo, scheduled to make $5 million in 2006, would be a considerable upgrade over the platoon of Miguel Cairo and Kaz Matsui, the latter making his way onto Bill Madden’s Top Ten Turkeys of 2005 in today’s New York Daily News.

Mets 2B Aaron Baldiris, 27, was 3 for 4 with a double yesterday for Magallanes of the Venezuelan Winter League.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s T.R. Sullivan claims the Mets might be interested in Tigers C Ivan Rodriguez, to which I can only hope his sources are full of shit.

Catbird In The Nosebleed Seats’ Jeff Kallman has a nice story to remember Mike Cameron by that has nothing to do with trade requests, facial surgery or a guy trying to scam painkillers.

MLBTradeRumors.com is claiming that San Francisco have offered free agent SP Matt Morris a three year deal for approximately $24 million.

Whoop De Damn Redux : Vescey Urges Knicks To Audition Anderson

Posted in Basketball at 1:39 pm by

Along with castigating Larry Brown for his public humilation of Stephon Marbury, (“Not that Friday night’s nine-point loss to the Nuggets was a total loss for Marbury, who caught some unexpected winks (the final 6:31) at Denver. He recognizes now he’s been talking to the wrong Piston all this time. Instead of calling Billups three times a week regarding Brown, it makes more sense to consult with Darko Milicic.”), the New York Post’s Peter Vescey (seriously) proposes that the Knicks take a look at another NYC point guard.

Before the season began, Isiah Thomas and Brown worked out Kenny Anderson (above) and were impressed with his conditioning. Considering the scarcity of experienced playmakers (it appears the Knicks don’t have the assets to pry one loose from another team) adept at distributing the ball to the right players in the correct position, why not bring in Anderson for a tryout at minimal cost? Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker were never happier when Kenny (35 this past Oct. 9) was feeding them intravenously.

Then again, if Brown really wanted to take a walk down Memory Lane he could issue a bench warrant for Rod Strickland (39 this past July), who dropped 44 recently in Harlem’s Over-35-League.

Hey, Anderson and Strickland are both New York guys, both played in the association as late as last season and neither is as old as Joe Franklin. Either one could upgrade their “flawed” roster.

Franklin, too, I suspect.

Though beating a Portland team that many predict will struggle to win 30 games is hardly reason enough to proclaim the Knicks’ respectability, their effort in the 2nd half of today’s 103-92 win over the Blazers was pretty encouraging. Though the Self-Proclaimed Best Point Guard in the NBA isn’t even the Best Point Guard From Coney Island, the family duel between Marbury and Sebastian Telfair was fun to witness, as was the continued emergence of C Channing Frye (20 points, 6 rebounds in 23 minutes). I don’t know if Isiah Thomas is still interested in Darius Miles (5 for 13, 7 turnovers), but unless Portand is desperate enough to accept Jerome James plus an autographed photo of John Starks’ surgeon, I certainly hope such a trade never occurs.

Marty Schottenheimer, Mr. Entertainment

Posted in Gridiron at 11:31 am by

Sans TE Ryan Krause, the Chargers take on the Bills later this afternoon, the latter’s J.P. Losman getting the start after last week’s win over K.C. San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer has an interesting explanation for the Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee about his club’s propensity for close games.

For those who don’t wear lightning bolts and run into other large men for a living, this is Marty Schottenheimer’s explanation for the Chargers’ inability to sustain domination and put opponents away:

“We’re in the entertainment business.”

So, the coach was asked, with his club about to host the Buffalo Bills after a bye week, would he not rather have a few more double-digit victories, wherein the final minutes are not fraught with tension?

“Yeah,” Schottenheimer said, before continuing with a straight face: “But I’d rather have the assurance we’d win every one and win by one. It keeps it entertaining, and it gets done what we’re setting out to do.”

It’s good the coach is concerned about entertaining the masses.

(For those who believe him, please call the number listed at the end of this article. There is a bridge for sale.)

I don’t get it. Where is this bridge and why isn’t the price mentioned on Acee’s voice mail?

Thome : I Come From A Long Line Of Monsters

Posted in Baseball at 10:33 am by

Owed $46 million over the next 3 years and deemed expendable by the emergence of Ryan Howard, Phillies 1B Jim Thome strongly denies that his size or health/production woes are in any way steroid-releated. From the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jim Salisbury.

Thome is loath to make excuses for his performance, but admits that he was hurt from day one. He says he should have given his strained back longer to heal in spring training. He is not sure how he damaged the flexor tendon in his right elbow, but he knows he couldn’t bear the pain of throwing anymore, and having surgery in August was a must if he wanted to be ready for spring training.

Throughout his struggles, Thome heard all the rumblings. He heard people say he couldn’t turn on a fastball anymore. He heard some people speculate that he may have been experiencing steroid withdrawal.

“I never doubted my ability,” Thome said. “It was just frustrating that I didn’t have my true ability because I was hurt.”

As for the steroid accusations?

“Laughable,” Thome said. “I’ve heard all that stuff and people have asked me about it. Here’s what I tell them – go look at my family photo. Everybody in my family is big. If I ever took a steroid, I’d blow up so much I wouldn’t be able to swing a bat. I’ve never even taken a supplement in my life.”

Maybe He Was Just Picking Up His Mail

Posted in Gridiron at 10:14 am by

There’s been a Mike Martz sighting in St. Louis, and don’t think someone in the Rams Park security detail won’t be disciplined. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bill Coats.

Perhaps a bit skittish to discuss anything that occurs at practice after the mini-altercation earlier this week between two assistant coaches, Rams tackle Orlando Pace feigned ignorance when asked about Mike Martz’s surprise appearance Friday.

“He was out there?” said Pace, laughing heartily.

Indeed, he was. Martz spent about 30 minutes at the indoor practice facility, chatting with interim head coach Joe Vitt, several other assistants and a handful of players.

I was surprised to see him out there,” Pace said. “I’m sure it’s tough to stay home during the course of the season. It was good just to see him getting around.”

Wide receiver Dane Looker said: “He’s been a vital part of this organization for a long time, and he’s put this team together. He probably just wanted to check on things, see how everything is going.”

No doubt hoping to avoid future public orgies, Wizzinator busts or ticket scalping incidents, the Minnesota Vikings have distributed a 77 page code of conduct to players and staff. From the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Sean Jeansen.

There is a separate 13-page section of policies and procedures for players, prohibiting the use of cell phones in the locker room, motorized carts and scooters at training camp, and T-shirts, sweat suits, sneakers and jeans on road trips.


(although Gob Bluth does face a possible fine from Mike Tice for use of the cell phone, we should point out that technically speaking, the Segway is not a scooter).

‘FAN Boss Seeks Ex-Jock

Posted in Sports Radio at 9:41 am by

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman reports that with the departure of current WFAN GM Lee Davis, Infinity Broadcasting’s Joel Hollander is considering the unorthodox move of recruiting a prominent former athlete to run the station.

“I don’t know if we could pull this off, but I would like to find a former player to run the station,” Hollander said. “Right now, I don’t know if such a person, who is high profile and has business skills, exists, but I’m going to find out.”

After he finished speaking, Hollander told me he was “serious” about finding an ex-jock to run FAN. He also explained why he wanted to make the move.

And, of course, it was all about finding a way for the station to increase its advertising revenue.

“Hypothetically, let’s say I could hire Phil Simms or Troy Aikman,” Hollander said. “Do you think there would be any company, including current NFL advertisers, where the executives would not be thrilled to have a meeting with either one of these guys? Doors would open for them at companies all over the country.

“If I could find the right guy, a recognizable name who played the game, do you think anyone would deny him the opportunity to make a sales pitch for WFAN?” he asked.

Hmmm. Hard to say. Some people already have their minds made up about Wally Backman.

Busted In Brighton – Paging Mr. Blackwell

Posted in Football at 9:13 am by

Brighton 2, Crystal Palace 3

Setanta’s feed of Sky coverage of 23rd place Brighton & Hove Albion v. Crystal Palace this morning has been compelling TV, not least because of Palace keeper Gabor Kirayl’s bizarre decision to don an incredibly unflattering pair of sweatpants.

I’ve been to the Withdean Stadium in late November, so I can vouch for how cold it must be. But surely Kirayl has put up with far worse in his native Hungry. Either way, have a bit of pride, man. You’re on TV around the world and at least a hundred people are watching.

Former Chelsea trainee Leon Knight (above, right) scored a pair of goals for the Seagulls ; substitute Job McAnuff poked in the winner for Palace about 4 minutes into stoppage time.

Mushnick In The Sleeper Hold

Posted in Professional Wrestling, Sports Journalism at 9:01 am by

Predictably, the death of Eddie Guerrero has prompted the NY Post’s Phil Mushnick to compose one of his semi-annual attacks on the ‘roid-filled world of professional wrestling. And Mushnick is, on these rare occasions, not completely out to lunch when he sheds light on the industry’s ridiculously high mortality rate and institutional exploitation of its workers.

That said, such columns appear in the NY Post’s sports section. As wrestling receives no other coverage from the Post’s sports department, what, precisely, is Mushnick’s justification for his continued focus on this particular brand of TV entertainment? If the Post has given Phil free reign to examine evil in its many televised forms, why didn’t Mushnick press the panic button when TNA was purchasing airtime from Fox Sports? Surely a serious sports journalist who regularly follows professional wrestling (or at least when someone dies) was aware that the WWE’s only remaining semblance of domestic competition was writing checks to his employer?

D’Alessandro Can’t Imagine KG In a New Jersey/Brooklyn Uniform

Posted in Basketball at 1:47 am by

Though a more timely topic might be the Nets’ 89-83 win over the Wizards on a night when neither Jason Kidd nor Gilbert Arenas were particularly sharp, we’ll instead hop in the way-back-machine for Dave D’Allessandro’s pessimism over Kevin Garnett suiting up for Team Ratner. From yesterday’s Newark Star-Ledger.

KG makes $18 million this year, and turns 30 in May.

Vince Carter makes $13.8 million, turns 29 in January.

Richard Jefferson makes $10.2, but he is a base-year compensation player, which means his salary is only $5.1 million if he were to be used in a trade.

Minnesota would settle for nothing less than both Carter and Jefferson.

So the VC-RJ combo works in trade, but the questions you have to ask yourself are these: Would Minnesota do better elsewhere (probably not), and would the Nets even consider such a thing (under consideration, probably not)?

Believe it or not, there are some people in the Nets™ organization that would do it. We™d be surprised if Rod Thorn and Ed Stefanski were among them, however. They™d part with one of them, but not both. And Minnesota would not accept a Carter/Krstic/McInnis or Carter/Collins ($5.5M, but $2.75 BYC) counteroffer. Yes, the Wolves need a star in return, someone who would keep the fans interested, and Vince can do that. But they aren™t stupid enough to trade the league™s most accomplished big for anything but another accomplished big.

In the end, we think KG will practice his grumble long enough to be granted his freedom, but where he stops, nobody knows right now. But we know this much: The Wolves cannot move KG for anything less than a young stud and multiple draft picks in return. If Kevin McHale is truly a motivated seller, the first place he should look is Orlando, which has the stud (Dwight Howard), a high pick, and a big salary (Grant Hill) to make it all add up.